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Why you might want to think twice about getting your wisdom teeth removed

January 27, 2016

For 30 years, Dr. Jay Friedman has been on a one-man crusade to halt the tide of wisdom teeth removal, which he says is one of the most egregious examples of unnecessary medical procedures. In 2007, Friedman published a study in which he estimated that at least two-thirds of the millions of wisdom teeth extracted each year could or should have stayed in, but were instead removed out of unfounded fears of what would happen otherwise.

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America’s national vacation problem

September 8, 2015

As Americans enjoy an extra day away from the office over the long Labor Day weekend, many will reflect on the end of a summer when, once again, they took far fewer days of vacation than workers in other countries.

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Vienna’s recipe for living well

June 4, 2015

In centuries past, Vienna shined bright as the world’s most creative city. It gave us Mozart and Freud, and scores of other geniuses. The Vienna of today doesn’t enjoy such global prominence, nor does it possess the hip cache of Berlin or the polyglot culture of London. But it has something else going for it: laziness, or “productive idleness”, as I call it. I mean this as a compliment, for it’s a certain kind of laziness – and it is worth admiring.

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Why Do Airplane Windows Have Tiny Holes?

June 1, 2015

Hole in the window? The little one, near the bottom, that you perhaps only notice when a hollowed-out snowflake of frost forms near it. This tiny hole is called a breather hole or a bleed hole, and it serves an important safety function.

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The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison

March 30, 2015

To anyone familiar with the American correctional system, Halden seems alien. Its modern, cheerful and well-­appointed facilities, the relative freedom of movement it offers, its quiet and peaceful atmosphere — these qualities are so out of sync with the forms of imprisonment found in the United States that you could be forgiven for doubting whether Halden is a prison at all.

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26 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better

March 24, 2015

So it’s natural for things like Russia’s incursion into Ukraine or the rise of ISIS or the Ebola outbreak to weigh on us more than, say, the fact that extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990, or that life expectancy is increasing, especially in poor countries. But it’s worth paying some attention to the latter factors. The world is getting much, much better on a whole variety of dimensions. Here are just a few.

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The invisible network that keeps the world running

February 21, 2015

It’s been just over 45 years since the Apollo Moon landings, and some would have it that we are failing to build big anymore; that we’ve since become too fascinated with the small, too impressed by our tablet computers, games consoles, and smartphones that we don’t invest in grand, world-changing engineering projects. Stand on the bridge of a container ship docked in a mega-port in Korea, however, and it’s clear that’s just not true.

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Why is America the ‘no-vacation nation’?

February 9, 2015

Besides a handful of national holidays, the typical American worker bee gets two or three precious weeks off out of a whole year to relax and see the world — much less than what people in many other countries receive.

And even that amount of vacation often comes with strings attached.

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10 Jobs That No Longer Exist Today

February 7, 2015

Knocker-uppers were essentially alarm clocks – they were hired to ensure that people would wake up on time for their own jobs. They would use sticks, clubs or pebbles to knock on clients’ windows and doors.

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8 places to see in Cuba if Congress lifts the travel ban

February 5, 2015

Congress is debating a bill that would allow Americans unfettered access to Cuba for the first time in 50 years. To help jump start your travel plans for a Cuban vacation, we decided to ask some former locals to recommend their favorite spots and hidden treasures on the island. Consider them your personal insiders.

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Why Small Businesses Are Starting to Win Again

January 25, 2015

Consider a few surprising and optimistic facts for the new year: nationwide, independent bookstores have grown by about twenty per cent since 2009; meanwhile, American craft breweries collectively now sell more than 16.1 million barrels of beer annually, outpacing, for the first time, Budweiser.

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How To ‘Thrive’: Short Commutes, More Happy Hours

January 16, 2015

Dan Buettner visited some of the happiest populations on Earth to figure out what makes them tick. After five years of study, he argues the real keys to happiness lie not in wealth or beauty, but in fundamental changes to the way we live. Buettner lays out his findings in his book Thrive.

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Is There Any Relief in Sight for Our Overtested Kids?

January 13, 2015

If you’re contemplating ways to suck the spirit out of a school, this is an effective one. Studies have shown the importance of the first few weeks of school for fostering relationships and building motivation in children. Instead, we were forced to take a route that was sterile and demoralizing—a school-wide lobotomy, if you will.

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What It’s Like Living in the Coldest Town on Earth

January 12, 2015

In 1933, the village of Oymyakon, Russia recorded the lowest temperature on earth for any permanently inhabited location at a chilling – 90°F (- 67°C). Though temperatures of that record are rare, Oymyakon regularly averages – 30°F and is considered the one of coldest places on earth. Not many people would find this isolated tundra appealing, but New Zealand native Amos Chapple just couldn’t resist.

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J.J. Abrams on the Magic of Mystery

January 8, 2015

True understanding (or skill or effort) has become bothersome—an unnecessary headache that impedes our ability to get on with our lives (and most likely skip to something else). Earning the endgame seems so yesterday, especially when we can know whatever we need to know whenever we need to know it.

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